Medical Malpractice: A Delay In Diagnosis Or A Failure To Diagnose

If your doctor fails to see the connection between your symptoms and your disease and does not diagnose you correctly or quickly, it can lead to severe medical consequences for you and your family. Nelson & Hammons, Attorneys At Law, was founded in 1977. With our offices in Shreveport and Lafayette, our attorneys have been recovering damages for victims of medical malpractice and health care negligence throughout Louisiana. If you believe there was a delay in diagnosis or a failure to diagnose a medical condition, then you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries.

When Does A Misdiagnosis Constitute Medical Malpractice?

Not all missed or delayed diagnoses are considered medical malpractice. Even if a doctor reads the test results wrong and misses the diagnosis of an illness, if no harm occurs due to the delay, then there is no basis for a case against the doctor. A valid medical malpractice claim includes the following circumstances:

  • Your physician misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose a condition in a timely manner that most physicians with the same qualifications would have diagnosed correctly.
  • The delayed diagnosis of your condition caused you or a loved one harm, such as a delay in diagnosing cancer or another disease, and that disease progressed to a more serious stage due to the delayed diagnosis.
  • The harm or injury was directly caused by the missed diagnosis or mistake in diagnosis by the doctor.

In other words, if a correct diagnosis had been made and treatment had begun more quickly, then you would not have suffered additional injury or harm.

Why Do Physicians Fail To Diagnose A Condition?

Diagnostic errors can happen with careful physicians who follow the expected duty of care. In many cases, though, failure to diagnose a condition is a result of the doctor’s negligence. Some examples include:

  • Ignoring or missing signs and symptoms
  • Lack of diagnostic tests
  • Failing to eliminate other diagnoses
  • Misinterpreting the test results
  • Errors in the medical records

The consequences of an inaccurate or late diagnosis can prove fatal. In the best cases, a patient’s care is slightly delayed, and they improve after receiving the right treatment. In the worst cases, though, an innocent patient dies as a result of a doctor’s diagnostic error.

First Steps For Victims Of Negligent Failure To Diagnose

If you suspect you suffered harm because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose your condition, the actions you take now can improve your chances at fair compensation. These include:

  • Keeping records of your symptoms, your doctor’s response them, the medications they prescribe and other details.
  • Collect copies of your medical charts for written evidence of your treatment.
  • Seek a second opinion from another specialist in the same field, especially if you believe there is something wrong with your current physician’s treatment or reasoning.
  • Call our office. One of our medical malpractice lawyers can evaluate your case and give you honest advice about whether you have a strong case.

A proactive approach can help you advocate for your own care and start building a claim for malpractice.

The Difficulty Of Failure To Diagnose And Lawsuits

Medical malpractice claims involving an improper diagnosis are incredibly complicated. Your medical provider has full access to most of the documentation and evidence necessary for a claim. They will make it as difficult as possible for you to access this evidence. Some providers have even concealed or destroyed evidence to hinder their patients’ malpractice lawsuits.

You will also have to prove that your doctor deviated from the expected standard of care by failing to make an accurate diagnosis. After all, doctors are humans and can make mistakes. The burden of proof for a successful claim involves showing that your doctor failed to take the necessary steps to arrive at the correct diagnosis, including ordering certain tests and eliminating incorrect diagnoses.

These claims are not easy to win. It is critical to have a team of lawyers who regularly litigate medical malpractice claims. We know which evidence to gather, how to get your health care provider to turn over the right documents and how to construct a strong case.

Medical Malpractice In Louisiana

In Louisiana, the laws protecting medical professionals are strict, so there must be a clear case of medical malpractice through a missed or delayed diagnosis that causes harm to the patient. In addition, the laws in our state are designed to protect the medical community. There are strict time limits and filing deadlines for medical malpractice claims.

Call Today For A Free Consultation

If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed due to a failed or delayed medical diagnosis, please contact our team at 318-716-7329 or send an email through our online form. Our lawyers want to hear your story, answer any questions that you may have and tell you more about how they can help you with your case.